Although located only about 40 miles north of Washington ( DC), Charm City (or Baltimore, MD) gets considerable less press than its more prestigious neighbor. Anyone who has visited Baltimore invariably raves about the friendliness of its residents, the wonderful small Polish and Italian neighborhoods, and the great deals on residential real estate. ' It feels like a real city, not like DC which at times seems like an amusement park. It's so big, so close and we never even think much about it, ' is the sentiment that I hear so frequently from friends who have a hard time crossing the 14th street bridge. These same individuals will claim that driving in VA is so confusing, and believe that no one really lives north of White Flint Mall. Whatever!!
When pressed into service as tour guide, my guests and I are always impressed by our visit to the one of the city's hidden treasures, namely the American Visionary Art Museum, which even at a distance elicits gasps of admiration. The main building and accompanying garden courtyards are perched on the edge of the harbor, and the views from the upper-level restaurant are phenomenal. In the distance one glimpses the modern skyline of downtown, and even closer are wheeling birds and the masts of bobbing sail-boats. The museum has several floors of exhibition galleries dedicated to the works of intuitive/outside/outsider-insider/self-taught/visionary/folk/and neuve invention artists (or artisans). An enormous gift-shop filled with the most unusual and creative objects boggles the mind, as does the exterior courtyard filled with art-objects and sculptures. Numerous travel blogs and magazines rave about the museum, and rightly so. It's a humbling and moving experience to view the creativity expressed by those who had previously been marginalized by mainstream society, and the manner in which Beauty continues to assert itself in the most unfavorable of circumstances. The permanent collection includes Howard Finster, Martin Ramirez, Ted Gordon and others.
I hope that when planning a visit to our area, please consider the AMERICAN VISIONARY ART MUSEUM (www.avam.org), for it's not to be missed.
PS: Tonight's soundtrack is Chris Lake's Communicate (Crazy).